Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

Former Pinay DH Creates An App To Help Defend Overseas Workers

Myrna Padilla spent more than two decades as a domestic worker abroad before returning home to the Philippines. She also created an app to link migrant workers together to help deter them from being exploited.

Overseas migrant workers from the Philippines are able to meet and keep in contact with the software created by former domestic worker Myrna Padilla. In the app, workers can select the country in which they work, the home area, the native dialect, and the occupation. The app also allows an ‘opt-in’ option if you wish to be contacted by a worker near you who is in trouble. 

The article included the story of Myrna Padilla:


Padilla went home in 2006. From being a domestic worker and a labor rights leader in Hong Kong, Padilla now heads Davao-based Mynd Consultancy, a tech firm that eventually created the OFW Watch mobile app.

“I applied the knowledge that I gained from the Internet for my advocacy. We developed OFW Watch,” she said.

More than just an application, OFW Watch seeks to promote volunteerism and solidarity within the OFWs, while at the same time making it easy to call for support.

“All they have to do is download the application and register. Once a person becomes a member of OFW Watch, they will automatically be included in the database,” said Padilla.

The app can detect the location of an individual, as well as the registered OFWs near him. Where an issue or an irregularity has been found, neighboring OFWs can be moved to take action. 

Other online accounts of OFWs – such as Facebook – can also be associated with OFW Watch, so as soon as an individual stops communicating, other OFWs will be alerted.

A domestic worker no more

According to Padilla, through her 8-year-old Hong Kong ward, Jonathan, she found her secret love for computers.

“My boss instructed me to follow Jonathan at all times. She told me, ‘Whenever he would open his computer, just watch. Don’t do anything,’” she shared.

At first, the thought of a career scared the non-technology-savvy Padilla.

Sabi ko noon, ‘Patay.’ (I said then, ‘I’m doomed.’) I didn’t even have the slightest idea what a computer was,” she said.

Yet she was fascinated as soon as she saw the 8-year-old use of the machine. “I was very amazed. Every time the little black thing was moved, there were changes in the screen,” she shared with a laugh.

“I first learned how to use a mouse, then word applications, then surfing the Net, then e-mailing.”

As of now, OFW Watch has over 100,000 users, Padilla said. This was done without ads.

Read the original article in full at Rappler.

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